What did the DAC4EU train do in Austria?
In late January, a freight train equipped with the Digital Automatic Coupling technology started a test trip from Berlin to cross Europe and assess the technology. In February, it spent some days in Austria, testing coupling and decoupling processes and resilience in harsh weather conditions. What were the results?
The DAC4EU train involves six companies, including DB Cargo, SBB Cargo and Rail Cargo Group and the wagon owners Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe, and VTG. Its goal is the EU-wide introduction of DAC, while it is also financed by the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport (BMVI) with 13 million euros.
Tests in stations and sidings
“During the first few days in Austria, the DAC4EU demonstrator train remained in the mountainous Voralberg region and halted in Rankweil and Langen am Arlberg,” says Rail Cargo Group. In Rankweil it performed coupling and uncoupling tests. At the same time, local rail staff “received comprehensive training in these techniques, and got their first opportunity to become familiar in practical terms with DAC,” explains the Austria-based company.
No problem with harsh weather
After Rankweil, the DAC4EU demonstrator train travelled on to Langen am Arlberg. There, it did something very impressive. It literally spent an entire weekend at a standstill under winter weather conditions and sub-zero temperatures to check how the equipment reacts. “The wagons were uncoupled and left standing, and the results were very positive. Fortunately, the coupling mechanism worked without a problem and so the DAC4EU demonstrator train continued onwards to its next station stops in Styria,” narrates RCG.